A fine, masterful work by the late Dr. Alan Edward Nourse (originator of the title of the Ridley Scott film), which shows a New York, not too far in the future, afflicted by an Asian flu which, coupled with meningitis-like symptoms, could lead to a full scale, deadly epidemic with no geographic boundaries.
When governmnet-sponsored healthcare, accessible only to those who submit to voulntary sterilization, threatens to leave the poor, or unwilling in the lurch, doctors (such as John Long, M.D.) will perform inexpensive surgeries under the table until such time as the patients can afford to pay for better medical care.
In the service of these doctors are registered nurses (like Molly Barret), anestheticians (when one is available) and, out of vital necessity, courier/smugglers of illegally-acquired medical supplies: bladerunners (for instance, Billy Gimp; not his real name); so-called because of the scalpels (blades) among other supplies they carry.
Billy is under surveillance for various illegal activities; he's also the only person who can elicit support for Doc, when the chips are down. In his corner is Molly, who takes Doc to task for continually promising to fix Billy's club foot problem (hence Billy's nickname).
With the cops closing in on Billy in the Lower City section of Manhattan, it's only a matter of time before Billy's various contacts (Doc, Molly in the Upper City, suppliers and other bladerunners) get pulled into the net the police have thrown over the region.
Expertly written by a former M.D., The Bladerunner conjures up images of American cities we all know, with a sort of multi-level, stacked metropolis image (Seattle, my hometown, in some parts; L.A., downtown; and Chicago, in such films as Batman Begins, and Dark Knight), and the current healthcare crisis, with its Asian flu epidemic, and robot-assisted surgery (against which Doc fights, out of contempt for soulless machines) a reality, this book, penned in 1974, is more prophetic in reality, than the movie which bought its title. Find a copy and settle in for a long night in a future all too present.